MONDAY, April 11, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Age and higher ferritin levels are associated with more severe multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), resulting in intensive care unit (ICU) admission, according to a study published online April 11 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Joanna Merckx, M.D., from McGill University in Montreal, and colleagues obtained data from chart reviews of children younger than 18 years with confirmed or probable MIS-C admitted to 15 hospitals between March 1, 2020, and March 7, 2021; data were included for 232 children with MIS-C. Risk factors for admission to the ICU or cardiac involvement were examined.

The researchers found that 31.5 percent of the patients were admitted to the ICU, but none died. Children aged 13 to 17 years and 6 to 12 years and those with initial ferritin levels >500 µg/L had an increased risk for ICU admission (adjusted risk differences, 27.7, 25.2, and 18.4 percent, respectively). Numerically, but not significantly, higher rates of ICU admission were seen for children admitted to hospital after Oct. 31, 2020 (adjusted risk difference, 12.3 percent), and they had significantly higher rates of cardiac involvement (adjusted risk difference, 30.9 percent). In Canada, the risk for ICU admission was significantly higher for children admitted between December 2020 and March 2021 versus those admitted between March and May 2021.

“We cannot provide a clear explanation for the increased MIS-C severity in the later period of our study,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry; one author participated on data safety monitoring boards for COVID-19 vaccine trials.

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